Need a Filling? Go Amalgam-Free!
When we started our practice, one of our goals has always been to ensure the health of our patients. We love helping our neighbors in Longmeadow, MA! It’s in that spirit that we offer amalgam-free fillings to repair cavities and teeth that have been damaged by cavities and decay.
Amalgam Free? What’s That?
Our modern world is full of advanced technology, and most of us couldn’t imagine life without it! When people have a cavity and come in for a filling, they’re often surprised when they learn that the technology behind it has been more or less unchanged for 150 years!
It’s true! Chances are, if you’ve had a filling placed at some point in your life, it is made of a substance called silver amalgam. It sounds harmless enough; isn’t silver an antiseptic, after all?
Well, it would be “harmless” if the silver in silver amalgam was actually silver (it is possible there may be a small amount of silver in one of your fillings). What most people don’t know is “silver amalgam” is actually 50% mercury!
Mercury has been used in fillings for two main reasons: one, fillings made with mercury are strong enough to withstand the grinding and chewing your teeth (especially those in the back) do all day. Two, mercury is fairly cheap. As a result, mercury became the de facto ingredient for fillings all over the world. Here’s another surprising fact: of all industries that regularly use mercury, it’s dentists who use the most; the runner-up is coal-based power plants!
Does that sound like something you want in your mouth, potentially for the rest of your life? Probably not, as mercury is a well-known neurotoxin that can cause:
- Problems with learning and cognition (thinking)
- Diseases of the kidney and other vital organs
- Even Death!
It gets even worse: mercury doesn’t get processed out of the body as easily as other substances. Mercury bioaccumulates, which means it builds up over time; the more mercury you have in your system, the more profound its impact on the health of your body and brain. Mercury doesn’t only come from fillings: it’s in our food (especially fish), our water, and even our air.
You’d think that most dentists would want to help limit the amount of mercury that is present in the bodies of their patients given all the hazards the heavy metal poses (the mercury in your fillings continuously “evaporate” in your mouth; it enters your system as mercury vapor).
Unfortunately, 50% of dentists still use mercury (which is 50% of silver amalgam filling material) in routine fillings and other procedures.
Even if you’ve never had a cavity in your life, if you’ve been in a dentist’s office, you’ve been exposed to toxic levels of mercury just by breathing the air! In fact, mercury contamination is such a serious issue that dentists who use it are required to dispose of it following specific rules: it’s almost as if we’re not disposing of medical waste but nuclear waste with the amount of equipment needed to decontaminate a dental office!
So What’s the Alternative?
At Dores Dental, we gave up on silver amalgam a long time ago. We offer amalgam-free fillings called composite fillings. This filling material isn’t made of any kind of metal. Instead, composite fillings are made of plastic that is strong enough to handle the punishment your teeth can dole out as you chew and grind up the food you eat.
Composite fillings are much safer than silver amalgam fillings because they don’t leach mercury vapor into your mouth and your body; they don’t leach anything! They’re also better for a couple other reasons:
Composite fillings are bonded to the tooth. Mercury-based fillings depend upon the hole in the tooth to stay in place, which means your dentist has to do a lot of drilling to get the hole in the right shape so it will hold the filling properly. Composite fillings don’t depend on a hole because it bonds (or sticks) to the inside of the tooth. That means less drilling, which means greater comfort when you’re having a filling placed!
Composite fillings are better-looking than silver amalgam. Silver amalgam fillings aren’t very discrete. They appear as unattractive black spots in your teeth. If you could avoid that, wouldn’t you? That’s why composite fillings are sometimes called “white fillings” because they can match the exact color of your natural teeth! Nobody but you knows there’s a filling in your teeth.
Composite fillings don’t conduct heat. One of the first science lessons that a kid in school learns is that metal conducts heat. That means that if heat is applied to a metal filling, you’ll feel that heat as pain in your tooth. The same thing goes with cold: it hurts! Composite fillings are made of plastic, which doesn’t conduct heat at all. In other words, none of the sensitivity problems that are usually associated with fillings!
It’s an easy choice to make! Composites look better, feel better, and perform better than silver amalgam, which also slowly poisons you!
Make the best choice for your teeth and your health: Go amalgam-free with Dores Dental!
We’re here to give your best smile and your best health. If you want to learn more about composite fillings, or any of the other great services we offer to our patients, give us a call and make an appointment!
Take the first step to a healthy, vibrant smile!